“We Are Ant-Man” — Scott Bukatman at Digital Aesthetics Workshop

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The next meeting of the Digital Aesthetics Workshop is right around the corner! On Tuesday, November 5, 2019 (5-7pm in McMurtry 370), Scott Bukatman will be talking about digital bodies, superheroes, and more, in a talk titled “We Are Ant-Man.”

We Are Ant-Man

Scott Bukatman

The body of the 21st-century cinematic superhero is often a digital body, in whole or in part. It offers itself as a particularly visible digital effect (or effect of the digital). It somatizes the mutability afforded by digital technology. It speaks to the sense that bodies (and therefore selves) in the digital age are no more inviolate than any other form of coded information. But having said that they “speak to” such conditions, what do they say beyond the fact of our own hybridity? Do these bodies tell us anything useful about our digital lives? Comedies have long served to mediate new technologies for audiences, so to pursue this, I’m going to concentrate on Ant-Man and the Wasp (Peyton Reed, 2018), perhaps thesunniest and most classically comedic film of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. What do the film’s particular emphases — the nature of its gags, its depiction of technology, and the state of knowledge of both protagonists and audience — tell us about our digital condition?

Though not required, workshops participants are encouraged to watch Ant-Man and the Wasp prior to the event. Snacks and drinks will be served, and all are welcome!

Desktop Horror: Screening Fear/Fearing Screens — JFK Institute, Freie Universität Berlin

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On June 26, 2019, I’ll be giving a talk titled “Desktop Horror: Screening Fear/Fearing Screens” at the Culture/Literature Research Colloquium at the JFK Institute for North American Studies, Freie Universität Berlin. Thanks to Frank Kelleter, Alexander Starre, and everyone else involved for inviting me and making this happen!

Carlos Valladares’s Video Essay “Minnelli Red” at Pesaro Film Festival

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Congratulations to Carlos Valladares, who not only graduated with honors from the Stanford Film & Media Studies program this past weekend, but whose video essay “Minnelli Red” was accepted at the Pesaro Film Festival taking place right now in Pesaro, Italy!

Valladares’s video essay, a revised version of his final project for the seminar I taught on “The Video Essay: Writing with Video about Film and Media” last fall, is one of five entries selected by curators Chiara Grizzaffi and Andrea Minuz in the festival’s “(Re)Edit Competition” and is now in the running for a juried award. Good luck, Carlos!

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The complete catalog (PDF) for the 54th Pesaro Film Festival is available here:

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Review of Post-Cinema: Theorizing 21st-Century Film, Screen 59:1 (2018)

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Lisa Åkervall has a review out in the latest issue of Screen, covering three works on post-cinema: 1) the open-access volume that I edited with Julia Leyda, Post-Cinema: Theorizing 21st-Century Film; 2) the special issue of Cinéma & Cie (16:26-27, 2016), titled ‘Post-what? Post-when? Thinking moving images beyond the post-medium/post-cinema condition,’ edited by Miriam de Rosa and Vinzenz Hediger (which also includes my article on “Speculation, Transition, and the Passing of Post-Cinema”); and 3) Malte Hagener, Vinzenz Hediger, and Alena Strohmeier’s edited collection The State of Post-Cinema: Tracing the Moving Image in the Age of Digital Dissemination

About the collection I co-edited with Julia Leyda, Åkervall writes:

“Shane Denson and Julia Leyda’s comprehensive volume Post-Cinema: Theorizing 21st-Century Film, an open access online publication by Reframe Books, presents a multifaceted compendium. […] The editors’ framing in Post-Cinema is precise and penetrating, flexible enough to accommodate enduring themes in film and media studies while also making allowances for new questions associated with topics such as digital media aesthetics, media archaeology and environmental studies. Their volume rejects the idea that postcinema is merely a successor to cinema or a step in the teleological digitalization of all media, instead identifying it with competing perspectives on a changing media situation that bears on cinema as an institution, a practice and a medium. In this respect the volume admirably addresses our changing media landscape.”

Read the full review here.

Frankenstein 2018: 200 Years of Monsters (CFP)

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The call for papers is now out for the “Frankenstein 2018: 200 Years of Monsters” conference hosted by the Australian National University and the National Film and Sound Archive in Canberra, Australia (12 – 15 September 2018). I will be giving one of the four keynote talks — on Frankenstein in film and other media. Proposals are being solicited for talks on a range of Frankensteinian topics, including:

  • Literary studies, especially of the long eighteenth century, Romanticism, Victorian and neo­‐Victorian literature
  • Re-tellings and re-­‐imaginings of the Frankenstein story in various modes and genres, e.g. SF, steampunk, speculative fiction, slash fiction, etc.
  • Film, television, theatre and performance, and visual studies
  • Digital humanities, reception studies, histories of popular culture, and media ecologies
  • Gender studies, queer theory, and the history of sexuality
  • Disability studies and post‐humanism
  • The history of medicine, especially reproductive technologies
  • Science and technology studies; images and imaginaries of science and scientists
  • The history and philosophy of biology, especially in relation to vitalism
  • Eco‐criticism and the Anthropocene
  • Affect theory and the history of emotions
  • Frankenstein and race, colonialism, empire
  •  Global and local Frankensteins, e.g. Australian Frankensteins
  • Frankenstein and material history
  • Cyborgs, robots, artificial intelligence, and machine learning
  • Synthetic biology, genetic engineering, and artificial life

For more info and the CFP, take a look at the conference website: http://rsha.cass.anu.edu.au/events/conference-frankenstein-two-hundred-years-monsters

Essays in Sight and Sound: An Exhibition of Video Essays

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Essays in Sight and Sound: An Exhibition of Video Essays brings together a number of works produced in the Fall 2017 course “The Video Essay: Writing with Video about Film and Media.”

The assembled videos deal with cinema, television, video games, and online media, which they approach from a variety of angles. Together, these works not only probe our changing media landscape but explore the critical affordances of the video essay as a means of writing with sight and sound.

The exhibition will be on view January 12 – 26, 2018 in the Gunn Foyer of the McMurtry Building, home of the Department of Art & Art History, on the Stanford University campus.